Black Project Releases 6 Lambic-Inspired Super-Fruited Ales

Denver, CO — Black Project Spontaneous & Wild Ales is announcing ROSWELL, a once per year bottle release party spanning two days, July 22-23, 2017.

ROSWELL is a new series of “super-fruited” beers that are Lambic-inspired, spontaneously fermented, barrel aged, and then refermented with high levels of one of six different fruits. ROSWELL is 100% spontaneous, meaning it was cooled in a coolship overnight allowing the hot wort (unfermented beer) to collect microbes from the air. These microbes are wild yeast and bacteria, which ferment the beer and naturally sour it. ROSWELL was brewed in the fall of 2016, when Black Project expanded into their new barrel cellar, adding over 140 oak barrels, four puncheons, a small 12hL fouder, and a custom-built copper coolship.

In August 2016, Black Project took over the taproom of Former Future Brewing Company, retiring Former Future. Both businesses are owned by James and Sarah Howat, but the husband and wife team decided to focus their attention from clean ales (non-sours) like porters, cream ales, and stouts to spontaneous and wild ales, like sours, mixed-culture saisons, and Lambic or Gueuze inspired beers – a blend of one, two, and three-year-old spontaneous barrel-aged beer. While customers may think that Former Future and Black Project are two separate breweries, both breweries opened on January 1, 2014 and used the same brewing system. Black Project beers were originally cooled on the roof of the building using two 2BBL / 60gal stock pots and then the beer was fermented in barrels. This kept the sour beer separate from the clean beer, preventing wild microbes from souring non-sour beer. The first Black Project spontaneous beer was brewed in late February 2014 and in August 2014, Black Project released Colorado’s first spontaneous ale, called “FLYBY”.

FLYBY went on to win a medal at the Great American Beer Festival that year. This was followed by another medal in the same category the year after. As Colorado’s only 100% spontaneous and wild brewery, every beer that’s produced by Black Project off of South Broadway in Denver, is made with only yeast from the environment, either from the air or from fruit and flowers that have been foraged. As a former microbiologist and high school science teacher, James Howat – brewer, blender, and co-owner – uses his experience and background to create a one of a kind beer that cannot be replicated at any other brewery, down to the individual cell.

This release of ROSWELL follows the brewery’s mission to “innovate in the research and development of spontaneous fermentation” and was created to showcase a concept they call “super-fruiting”, where the brewery uses as much fruit as possible, while still calling it a beer.

ROSWELL is made once per year during the late spring from a Lambic-inspired wort that was brewed earlier that fall. This gives the beer a depth of flavor but with a lower acidity than it would have after spending a summer in the barrel – ideal considering the amount of acidity naturally present in the fruit. ROSWELL has a rich and beautiful spontaneous flavor, with a distinct funk, and complexity that stands up to and melds into the heavy amount of vibrant fruit flavor and aroma. The true wild-caught microbes mean that the beer is deliciously dry while still packing an incredible amount of fruit flavor. Flavors include apricot, blackberry, cranberry, guava, raspberry, and blueberry.

On July 22, Black Project is releasing five of the bottle variants of ROSWELL to the public with a special BrewedFood pairing of Tender Belly Bratwurst with pain de mie bun, kimchi and, gochujang mayo with a side of Hop Ash potato chips, first come first serve. Then on July 23, the brewery is hosting an exclusive, onsite only release of SIGN, the blueberry variant, with a limited preview of and upcoming Biere Brut / Biere de Champagne made with Red Fox Cellars Barbera grapes.

Facebook | Instagram | Twitter

Black Project Releasing Peacemaker Spontaneous Solera Sour in Bottles

Denver, CO — Black Project Spontaneous & Wild Ales is releasing PEACEMAKER, a new spontaneous solera blend on Saturday, May 27, 2016 at 12:00pm.

PEACEMAKER is part of the brewery’s experimental series, which uses a blend of two spontaneous solera fermented beers. The blend is a combination of two base beers, one 100% wheat and the other, a golden ale, made with pilsner malt. Both beers were brewed on Black Project’s 4 BBL system and then cooled in the brewery’s coolship, a custom-built copper 12 BBL vessel designed to cool wort overnight while inoculating with wild yeast and other microbes from the air. In November, the brewery expanded into the space next door to add 100 oak barrels and a new coolship, which sits under an open window with fans overhead to circulate the air. This allows the boiling wort to cool for 12 hours, which inoculates the wort with airborne microbes, including brettanomyces, lactobacillus, pediococcus, and saccharomyces. Once it is cooled, the wort is transferred to stainless-steel totes where it aged and fermented for 8-12 months.

This beer was created using a solera method, a process where unfermented wort is added to finished beer, which causes the active microbes in the beer to referment the new wort, creating an almost identical copy of the original spontaneously fermented beer. When the total volume has finished fermentation, a portion of the beer is then transferred to another container and the new, unfermented wort, is topped off to replace and referment on the existing beer. This is a continuous process that the brewery has used for over three years to create one of a kind beers, as each beer changing slightly from the previous batch.

After the new wort refermented for six more months, on top of the original spontaneous beer, a portion of the finished solera was transferred to Bourbon barrels that Red Fox Cellars, a Palisade, CO winery, used to age cherry wine. The beer aged in the barrel for a month to soak up all the beautiful cherry wine, rich oak character from the wood, and some of the original bourbon notes.

The base beer is funky and tart and pairs perfectly with the sharp flavors of the barrel, while still peeking through with a complex and unique character. This beer is the culmination of years of spontaneous fermentation, barrel aging, and a unique partnership with Red Cox Cellars. Bottles are extremely limited and will be sold on a first come, first served basis. This beer will continue and develop with age so drink fresh or save for later.

PEACEMAKER was named after the production of the Convair B-36 “Peacemaker”, originally created for the United States Air Force by Consolidated Vultee Aircraft Corporation in 1946 as a piston-engine bomber capable of delivering nuclear weapons intercontinentally without refueling, with a range of 10,000 miles and a maximum payload of 87,200 lbs.

The B-36 set the standard for range and payload for subsequent U.S. intercontinental bombers.

Facebook | Instagram | Twitter

Black Project Releasing Peacemaker Spontaneous Solera Sour in Bottles

Denver, CO — Black Project Spontaneous & Wild Ales is releasing PEACEMAKER, a new spontaneous solera blend on Saturday, May 27, 2016 at 12:00pm.

PEACEMAKER is part of the brewery’s experimental series, which uses a blend of two spontaneous solera fermented beers. The blend is a combination of two base beers, one 100% wheat and the other, a golden ale, made with pilsner malt. Both beers were brewed on Black Project’s 4 BBL system and then cooled in the brewery’s coolship, a custom-built copper 12 BBL vessel designed to cool wort overnight while inoculating with wild yeast and other microbes from the air. In November, the brewery expanded into the space next door to add 100 oak barrels and a new coolship, which sits under an open window with fans overhead to circulate the air. This allows the boiling wort to cool for 12 hours, which inoculates the wort with airborne microbes, including brettanomyces, lactobacillus, pediococcus, and saccharomyces. Once it is cooled, the wort is transferred to stainless-steel totes where it aged and fermented for 8-12 months.

This beer was created using a solera method, a process where unfermented wort is added to finished beer, which causes the active microbes in the beer to referment the new wort, creating an almost identical copy of the original spontaneously fermented beer. When the total volume has finished fermentation, a portion of the beer is then transferred to another container and the new, unfermented wort, is topped off to replace and referment on the existing beer. This is a continuous process that the brewery has used for over three years to create one of a kind beers, as each beer changing slightly from the previous batch.

After the new wort refermented for six more months, on top of the original spontaneous beer, a portion of the finished solera was transferred to Bourbon barrels that Red Fox Cellars, a Palisade, CO winery, used to age cherry wine. The beer aged in the barrel for a month to soak up all the beautiful cherry wine, rich oak character from the wood, and some of the original bourbon notes.

The base beer is funky and tart and pairs perfectly with the sharp flavors of the barrel, while still peeking through with a complex and unique character. This beer is the culmination of years of spontaneous fermentation, barrel aging, and a unique partnership with Red Cox Cellars. Bottles are extremely limited and will be sold on a first come, first served basis. This beer will continue and develop with age so drink fresh or save for later.

PEACEMAKER was named after the production of the Convair B-36 “Peacemaker”, originally created for the United States Air Force by Consolidated Vultee Aircraft Corporation in 1946 as a piston-engine bomber capable of delivering nuclear weapons intercontinentally without refueling, with a range of 10,000 miles and a maximum payload of 87,200 lbs.

The B-36 set the standard for range and payload for subsequent U.S. intercontinental bombers.

###

About Black Project Spontaneous and Wild Ales
Black Project Spontaneous & Wild Ales is the passion project of James Howat, owner, brewer, and blender; and Sarah Howat, owner and operation manager; of what was formerly Former Future Brewing Company. The brewery began production in January 2014 and won two bronze medals for their coolship ales (Category: Experimental, Subcategory: Wild Ales) at The Great American Beer Festival in 2014 and 2015. In 2016, Black Project expanded production with a small addition to the property which allowed for the expansion of their barrel program. This allowed the brewery to evolve from Former Future Brewing Company to only serving Black Project beers. In 2017, Black Project hopes to produce 250 BBL of beer and increase distribution.

Every Black Project beer is fermented with microbes captured from the local environment via a coolship or foraged from nature. We believe this creates a beer that is unrivaled in complexity. Our beers are intended to have a sense of place, or terroir. No matter how hard one tried to, our beer cannot be replicated outside of our brewery. In fact, our microbe cultures are purposefully allowed to evolve from batch to batch, creating variations and interesting twists from different releases of the same beer.

We are meticulous about designing recipes and processes that will allow nature to take over and create beers unrivaled in their beauty and complexity. Through experimentation and research, we are continuously developing new and different techniques for use with wild and spontaneous fermentation.

We are not and do not have any intention of being a Lambic brewery. We use science and experimentation to find which processes and ingredients we want and often use that in parallel to traditional Lambic producers, however, other than the use of a coolship, we maintain no strict adherence to tradition for tradition’s sake. Spontaneous fermentation is merely a starting point and core of our process, from there our research and development extends much beyond the scope of the great Belgian brewers and blenders.

Event Links:
www.blackprojectbeer.com/affairs/peacemaker-bottle-release
www.facbook.com/events/1887656784843243

Black Project Spontaneous & Wild Ales Links:

www.blackprojectbeer.com
www.facebook.com/blackprojectbeer
www.instagram.com/blackprojectbeer
www.twitter.com/blackprojectale

Facebook | Instagram | Twitter

Beer Industry Whacks at Wicked Weed Deal

The fallout from Wicked Weed’s sale to Anheuser-Busch InBev is still being felt days after the transaction was announced.

In the wake of the deal — which will require approval from the U.S. Department of Justice — at least 44 breweries announced they would no longer participate in Wicked Weed’s annual Funkatorium Invitational in Asheville on July 8, according to Tenemu.

Among the more recognizable names pulling out, according to the beer blog: Allagash Brewing Co., Avery Brewing Co., Crooked Stave, Grimm Artisanal Ales, Night Shift, Troegs, Trillium and Springdale by Jack’s Abby, which has begun making plans to host a similar event for Funkatorium dropouts that same weekend.

Wicked Weed has promised that the Funkatorium Invitational — an annual showcase of wild and sour ales from across the country — will go on, and a new brewery list is expected to be released at a later date. Tickets go on sale May 20, and 100 percent of the profits will benefit Eblen Charities, which helps Asheville’s underprivileged citizens with access to health care, energy assistance, emergency assistance and housing.

“Regardless of what has transpired, we’ll always consider the people of Wicked Weed friends, and want the best for them and their families,” Stuffings wrote. “With that said, we have some core principles that define who we are as a brewery, and those principles must not be compromised. One of our core principles is that we do not sell beer from AB In-Bev or its affiliates. … Because of this core principle, it pains us to say that we won’t be carrying Wicked Weed anymore at Jester King.”In addition to posting updates about their decisions to boycott the Funkatorium festival, a few brewery owners also used Wicked Weed’s deal with A-B as an opportunity to double down on their own independence. In a statement, Jester King founder Jeffrey Stuffings called the sale “quite a shock”

Jester King has also backed out of present and future collaborative brewing projects with Wicked Weed, and has vowed not to pour any of the North Carolina brewery’s beers at its tasting room.

Similarly, The Rare Barrel and Black Project Spontaneous & Wild Ales have also distanced themselves from Wicked Weed.

“In order to stay true to our values, we’re pulling out of the second part of our collaboration, will not be attending their festivals, and will not be able to serve their beer in our Tasting Room anymore,” The Rare Barrel posted on its Facebook page.

In a blog post, Black Project owners James and Sarah Howat wrote that while their friendship with Wicked Weed’s owners would remain intact, they would cease their business relationship due to the company’s new affiliation with ABI.

“In Denver alone, we’ve seen several instances of highly aggressive, predatory, and what we consider to be unethical practices,” the Howats wrote. “We truly believe that ABInBev intends to systematically destroy American craft beer as we know it. We don’t personally buy, seek, trade, or acquire any of their products for this reason, and we’ve been known to encourage our friends to do the same.”

Breweries aren’t the only ones severing ties with A-B’s latest acquisition target, however. Several Denver craft beer bars and restaurants have said they will no longer serve products from Wicked Weed or other ABI-owned breweries in the company’s “High End” portfolio.

“We will not be purchasing any more Wicked Weed beers to be sold at Freshcraft,” the bar’s co-owner, Jason Forgy, told Westword. “We do have a few kegs that we have already purchased squirreled away that we will tap and sell, however.”

According to Westword, the list of boycotting bars and restaurants in Denver include Hops & Pie, Falling Rock Tap House, Euclid Hall, the Crafty Fox, Walter’s 303 Pizzeria and Publik House, and First Draft Taproom.

Meanwhile, Brawley’s Beverage owner Michael Brawley told the Associated Press that his Charlotte, North Carolina-based stores and restaurants would stop selling Wicked Weed products.

“If we continue to buy those brands then we tacitly approve of Budweiser’s attempt to buy out their competition and use that competition by dropping the prices to hammer my friends’ brewery,” Brawley told the AP. “We don’t have a choice.”

Additionally, the North Carolina Craft Brewers Guild has rescinded Wicked Weed’s voting rights but will continue to allow the brewery to participate in the organization as “an affiliate member.”

Elsewhere, Creature Comforts co-founder and CEO Chris Herron offered his perspective on the Wicked Weed sale in a guest post that is reportedly “on its way” to becoming the most read story on Good Beer Hunting.

Prior to starting Creature Comforts, Herron spent a combined 12 years working for Miller Brewing Company and Diageo in finance. He offered this hypothesis:

“While everyone thinks that AB InBev is truly interested in getting into craft and building these brands (which is a secondary goal at best), I submit that maybe buying craft breweries is more of a tool to devalue the craft category and increase the brand equity of their core legacy beers,” he wrote.

“These craft brands, whether they realize it or not, may just be pawns in the AB InBev game of chess. AB InBev is not a collaborator, they are a competitor, and a damn smart one,” he added.

Herron views A-B’s acquisitions as a “sleight of hand,” intended to add add “downward pricing pressure” within the craft segment. In doing so, A-B is forcing the hands of regional craft breweries to follow suit, and closing the gap between ABI’s premium legacy brands and craft in the process, he argued.

“Over time, minimizing this price gap increases the brand equity of their legacy premium brands (Bud and Bud Light), since these brands no longer appear to be at a significant discount,” he wrote.

In an interview with Business Insider, Wicked Weed co-founders Walt and Luke Dickinson defended their decision to sell to global brewing conglomerate.

“They’re the largest company in this segment. And, to have that kind of support behind our mission is immense,” Luke Dickson told the outlet. “We are going to be able to achieve things that we never imagined and have an impact that we never imagined, and that’s incredible.”

Walt Dickinson added: “There was a big fight to take market share from those big guys — the Anheuser-Busch’s of the world. And I think the exciting thing about beer now is it doesn’t need to be take down the big guys any more. It’s not a civil war here.”

Walt Dickinson also told the Associated Press that moving some production of Wicked Weed beers to Anheuser-Busch facilities outside of North Carolina is a “very real possibility.”

Despite the swift backlash, Walt Dickinson toldMen’s Journal that Wicked Weed hasn’t lost an employee yet, and he’s pretty confident that the company would retain most of its workforce.

“We’re growing, and that’s exciting. It’s also really galvanized our community,” Dickson said. “Having a moment like this really helps to bring the team together. This is very much about protecting the Wicked Weed family here, and it’s been a great moment for that.”

Dickinson also discussed how the company hopes to win back any lost fans.

“This is a move not to take Asheville out of Wicked Weed, but it’s to make Wicked Weed more a part of Asheville — to be able to have more resources, to create more jobs, and have a bigger impact on the community that we love. So I think in the end this is going to be a great thing for our city,” he told Men’s Journal.

However, one former Wicked Weed employee, Jed S. Holmes, has penned an open letter to the brewery’s founders on the website wickedweedsoldout.com.

“When you chose to sell your brand to Anheuser-Busch, you decided that local no longer mattered,” Holmes wrote. “This wasn’t your decision to make. You had an opportunity to prevent another big corporation from infiltrating downtown Asheville. The floodgates will open soon. This was a poor choice of precedent for the community. It didn’t have to be this way.”

Finally, Draft Magazine, in an effort to peek under the hood of an AB-owned craft brewery, convinced an anonymous “high-level staff member” to discuss their experience working for the global brewing giant. As expected, there is more pressure to sell and to grow and to innovate. But what happens to the culture post-acquisition?

“They really go above and beyond anything I’ve ever seen to ensure people stay. They want people to be happy,” the anonymous AB-owned craft brewery employee wrote.

Read the full interview here.

Facebook | Instagram | Twitter